Lamar used a red-hot second half to propel itself to a 73-56 victory over the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team on Saturday night at the Montagne Center. Anthony Miles scored all 16 of his points in the second half to lead the Cardinals (12-14, 6-6 Southland), while Demond Watt scored 19 points in a losing effort for the Islanders (8-19, 3-9).
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi came out strong early on, running right with the Cardinals and shooting well to open up a quick 8-2 lead. Lamar countered with a triple and a putback to trim the deficit to 8-7, but Watt laid in a nice feed from Justin Reynolds to push the Islanders ahead 10-7. The two squads went back-and-forth for the next several minutes, with the visitors holding an 18-16 lead at the 11:16 mark, with a triple from Reynolds and a three-point play by Jawan Nelson the key scores.
The fast pace continued over the next four minutes, but neither team was able to mount much of a rally, with a Watt three-point play giving the Islanders a 26-20 lead at 9:27. Lamar was able to put together a 7-0 run for its first lead of the ballgame at 27-26, but the Islanders countered with a 9-0 rally - four points coming on Nelson jumpers and five from Watt - to reestablish a 35-27 advantage at the 2:05 mark.
The Islanders defense continued its strong play over the final two minutes, holding the Cardinals to just three free throws. Meanwhile, Chris Mast hit two free throws and added a second-chance layin, and Watt hit a pair of shots from the line to make it a 41-30 game at the half. Over the final 9:30 of the half, the visitors limited Lamar to 2-for-10 shooting from the field.
Both teams emerged from the locker room without the crispness they had in the first half. Lamar started the second half on a 10-5 run, but a Terence Jones three-point play momentarily stemmed the rally with the Islanders up 49-40. But Lamar put up another quick-strike 7-0 run to pull within just two at 49-47. A Mast three-point play then pushed the Islanders advantage back to five with 10:29 remaining.
Lamar put forth another rally, hitting back-to-back baskets to make it a one-point game with 9:04 to play, forcing an Islanders time out. Devon Lamb then added a fast-break basket, as the Cardinals gained their first lead of the second half at 53-52. The Islanders drought continued, and Lamar was able to push its lead to 59-52 at the 4:28 mark.
A Watt free throw broke the scoreless string, but Anthony Miles countered with a three to push the lead to a game-high nine at 62-53 with 3:20 remaining. The Cardinals continued their hot shooting all the way to the end, resulting in the final score.
The Islanders stay on the road next week, with a crucial road game at UTSA slated for Wednesday night in San Antonio. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center.